Friday, 9 May 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

President Aquino mourns loss of 'good friend' Don Emilio Yap

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his condolences to the family of Don Emilio Yap, a respected industrialist, publisher, and philanthropist, who passed away on Monday.

“I convey my deepest sympathies to the Yap family in this time of loss and mourning, and hope that they can draw strength from the knowledge that Mr. Yap lives on in the legacy he leaves behind, one distinguished both by personal success and by an abiding generosity,” President Aquino said in a statement.

He said Mr. Yap will long be remembered for his achievements in many areas of economic activity vital to the well-being of our nation—ranging from banking, to hotels and restaurants, to shipping, to publishing, and even to education.

Among the companies owned by the 88-year old Chinese-Filipino businessman were Philtrust Bank, Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, Manila Hotel, Centro Escolar University, Philippine President Lines, Inc., and the US Automotive Co., Inc.

President Aquino said Mr. Yap “always upheld the deepest optimism and confidence in the abilities of the Filipino and in the success of the country," which made him “a true exponent of Philippine progress”.

“On a personal note, I will always remember him as a good friend, not only of my mother, but of the entire family as well. We will always treasure the memories we shared with him.

In all his activities, his self-effacing nature, kindly disposition, and concern for his employees and staff earned him widespread respect and the affection of many.

Today, I join all those whose lives he has touched in prayer for the eternal repose of his soul and for the comfort and consolation of his bereaved family,” the President stated. PND (hdc)

President Aquino receives credentials of six ambassadors-designate

President Benigno S. Aquino III received the credentials of six ambassadors-designate in a formal ceremony in Malacanang Palace on Tuesday.

The six ambassadors-designate are Lalduthlana Ralte of India, Munther Mahfood Al-Mantheri of Oman, Esra Cancorur of Turkey, Zhao Jianhua of China, Johny Lumintang of Indonesia, and Thomas Ossowski of Germany

An ambassador-designate is an official who has been named as ambassador but has yet to take an oath of office.

Arrival honors were given to all the ambassadors, who were then ushered to the Reception Hall for the signing of the MalacaƱang guest book.

Joined by their families and some officials of their respective countries, the ambassadors then presented their credentials to President Aquino at the Music Room.

President Aquino warmly greeted the ambassadors and their guests. They also took a photo opportunity with the President.

The Chief Executive met with all the envoys at the adjacent Study Room. Each meeting lasted about 20 minutes. PND (jb)

President Aquino, Chinese ambassador agree to put aside territorial row

President Benigno S. Aquino III had a cordial meeting with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and they agreed to work together despite their countries’ differences in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue, the Palace said.

The new Chinese envoy presented his credentials to President Aquino in Malacanang on Tuesday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a press briefing that the President met with the Chinese ambassador for 15 minutes, describing the meeting as “very cordial”.

The President and Ambassador Jianhua agreed that the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea is not the totality of Philippine-Chinese relations, with both sides reaffirming their commitment to move forward with the other facets of their relationships.

These relations include trade, tourism, and transnational crimes, Valte said.

“The President also extended our thanks to the Chinese side for their support for the “Yolanda” victims and extended an invitation for China to attend the World Economic Forum in May,” she said.

Valte said that even with Ambassador Jianhua’s predecessor Ambassador Ma Keqing, the Philippines has always agreed that the relationship with China is multifaceted and that the dispute in the West Philippine Sea is just a part of that relationship.

The Palace sees no reason why other segments of the Philippine-Chinese relations would be compromised because of disagreements in the West Philippine Sea, she said.

“We’re hoping that it will continue to move forward, which the President also expressed this morning,” Valte added. PND (as)

Palace welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary’s statement on Philippines’ territorial row with China

The Palace said Tuesday it welcomes the recent statement of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking China not to redraw its borders.

“We’ve always welcomed statements of support, especially for the position that we’ve taken,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

Hagel is on a three-nation Asian tour. He has visited Japan and is in China. His last stop is Mongolia.

Valte said it has always been the position of the administration to settle border or maritime disputes within the ambit of international law.

“From what I gathered from Secretary Hagel’s statement, he was saying as much, that these movements cannot be unilateral and that they must be settled according to the code that countries subscribe to,” Valte said.

With regards to China’s claims on the Scarborough Shoal, the government position is not to respond to provocative acts, she said, adding that this however does not mean that the Philippines has ceased to exercise its sovereign rights over the said shoal.

The Scarborough Shoal is part of the memorial submitted by the Philippine government to the arbitral tribunal, Valte said.

She noted that the government is not confining itself to international arbitration in searching for ways to resolve the dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.

The government is exploring other avenues, one of which is to bring the issue to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to Valte.

“From the last ASEAN, the member-countries are moving on the Code of Conduct. From what I understand, that is slated for discussion this year,” she said.

The ASEAN and China in 2002 agreed on the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The Philippines is pushing for an official and binding Code of Conduct that would further promote peace and stability in the region.

ASEAN leaders last met in October 2013 in Brunei Darussalam. PND (as)

Palace welcomes Czech envoy’s willingness to face congressional inquiry

Malacanang said Tuesday it welcomes Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar’s willingness to face a congressional inquiry to shed light on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) extortion controversy.

“That’s a good development because I understand from Secretary (Joseph Emilio) Abaya, when DOTC was conducting its own internal investigation on the matter, they did not have the benefit of having a formal statement from Ambassador Rychtar.” Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a press briefing.

Rychtar has accused MRT general manager Al Vitangcol of attempting to extort US$30 million from Czech train coach builder Inekon Group in July 2012.

The envoy said Vitangcol and Wilson de Vera had asked Inekon to pay the amount to win the contract for 48 coaches for the MRT, according to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.

The same report said Ambassador Rychtar was willing to waive his diplomatic immunity to face Vitangcol in court.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, all diplomats are given safe passage and protection from any lawsuit in their host country. PND (ag)